What’s Microsoft 365 Copilot, and how does it works? Here’s the answer.

This is what you need to know to understand the new Microsoft 365 Copilot that Microsoft is bringing for the suite of Office apps.

Microsoft 365 Copilot mockup
Microsoft 365 Copilot mockup (Source: Microsoft)

Microsoft 365 Copilot is a new chatbot for the suite of Office apps and other Microsoft products and services. It uses the same technology already available on Bing Chat, but this new experience is tailored for work.

The new technology aims to change how people work in the office by using Artificial Intelligence to complete a wide range of tasks that otherwise could take a long time, helping users be more productive and use their time more efficiently.

This guide will briefly explain what the Copilot is and how it works. Although Copilot is still under development, you may enable the feature on Excel, Word, and OneNote.

What’s Microsoft 365 Copilot?

Copilot is a new AI digital assistant built with ChatGPT version 4 and Microsoft Graphs for Microsoft 365 (Office) applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Microsoft Teams, and other products and services. Yes, you will need a Microsoft 365 subscription to access the feature.

The chatbot will appear as a sidebar on the application (similar to the Bing Chat integration available on Microsoft Edge) that you can use to ask complex questions and command the app using natural language to perform different tasks.

The chatbot can also appear in the middle of a document as you highlight a paragraph with suggestions to write the content with a single click or correct grammar mistakes.

The things you can do with Copilot will depend on the app you are using. For example, in Microsoft Word, you can ask Copilot to create content for a document on a specific topic or based on data available in another document. On PowerPoint, you can ask to create a presentation or style the presentation in a certain way.

Copilot for Word
Copilot for Word (Source: Microsoft)

In Excel, using natural language, you can prompt the chatbot to create or analyze the data in the table. In Outlook, the AI can summarize emails, help you compose email replies, and it can help you make sense of the information on a thread of emails. Finally, on Teams, the AI can summarize meetings, prepare people with updates on specific projects, determine the time to schedule a meeting, and more.

Another feature that sets Copilot apart is that it can’t only analyze information in the current files but also in other documents you have stored in the cloud. For instance, in Word, you can query the chatbot to create a proposal based on the customer notes you have in OneNote and another Word document.

Copilot will also be available in other products as well, such as Business Chat, Viva Engage, and others. 

How does Microsoft 365 Copilot works?

Copilot doesn’t just connect to ChatGPT to Microsoft 365. Instead, the technology uses the “Copilot system,” which combines the Microsoft 365 apps with the Microsoft Graph data and the technology of ChatGPT version 4.

Copilot system
Copilot system (Source: Microsoft)

If you are wondering how Copilot works, this will clear things up. If you ask a question in Word, the chatbot will send the data to the Microsoft Graph to analyze and make sense of the query, and then the data is sent to the ChatGPT language model. 

Once ChatGPT has the answer, it sends the data back to the Microsoft Graph for further grounding, security, and compliance checks before showing the answer to the user inside the app.

Microsoft also emphasizes that the new Copilot is not perfect and it’ll make mistakes. However, the company is touting the mistakes as something “usefully wrong” that will still give you a head start on the topic.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me. Email him at [email protected].